Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $2,000,000)
The National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) provides funding to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, and prosecutors offices to support multidisciplinary community response teams engaged in the comprehensive reform of jurisdictions approaches to sexual assault cases resulting from evidence found in previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs) - i.e. those SAKs that have never been submitted to a crime laboratory.
The goal of the SAKI is the creation of a coordinated community response that ensures just resolution to these cases whenever possible through a victim-centered approach, as well as to build jurisdictions capacity to prevent the development of conditions that lead to high numbers of unsubmitted SAKs in the future. The holistic program provides jurisdictions with resources to address their unsubmitted SAK issue, including support to inventory, test, and track SAKs; create and report performance metrics; access necessary training to increase effectiveness in addressing the complex issues associated with these cases and engage in multidisciplinary policy development, implementation, and coordination; and improve practices related to investigation, prosecution, and victim engagement and support in connection with evidence and cases resulting from the testing process.
The FY 2017 National SAKI Program will provide funds to recipients to implement or enhance the comprehensive BJA model to address the issues that underline the problem of unsubmitted SAKs or to expand their existing SAKI project to include the collection of lawfully owed DNA samples from convicted offenders. In FY 2017, National SAKI Program funding is available under three Purpose Areas: Purpose Area 1: Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits; Purpose Area 2: SAKI for Small Agencies; and Purpose Area 3: Collection of Lawfully Owed DNA from Convicted Offenders to Assist with Sexual Assault Investigations and Prosecutions.
The City of Austin Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Program will be implemented with the primary goals of creating a coordinated community response that ensures just resolution to sexual assault cases, whenever possible, through a comprehensive, victim-centered approach, as well as to build Austins capacity to prevent the development of conditions that lead to high numbers of unsubmitted SAKs in the future. The program objectives are to address inventory deficiencies, to test and track SAKs, to create and report performance metrics, to provide locally hosted training, to engage in multidisciplinary police development, implementation and coordination, to improve investigation and prosecution practices, to improve victim services and engagement related to SAK testing, to pursue investigative leads and prosecutions, and to conduct research related to SAKs and sexual assault cases.